Anyone that has Allergies or has a family member with Allergies knows that timing is everything when it comes to suffering a serious allergic reaction!
Until recently, most doctors believed that an anaphylactic response always occurred within minutes of exposure to an allergen. But now some experts from the medical community have discovered that for a small group of people, the window for experiencing an allergic response can be much wider than expected.
Discovery of a Delayed Allergic Reaction: Scientists from the University of Virginia have discovered a new phenomenon called “delayed anaphylactic reaction” or “delayed anaphylaxis.” This condition, which can occur between 3 to 6 hours after exposure to an allergen, doesn’t seem to be widespread. It only affects people with certain blood types, including A and O, who have recently been bitten by a tick. (People with other blood types seem to be immune to the problem.) The tick bite seems to kick-start the allergy process by changing the way a person’s immune system responds to red meats such as beef and lamb.
Symptoms of Delayed Anaphylaxis: The symptoms of a delayed allergic reaction are usually progressive, starting with itching, then moving into hives, swelling, and intestinal distress. In some cases, swelling of the airways and difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, and a drop in blood pressure can also occur, and can even be life threatening.
The findings, reported in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 2008, reveal that the way red meat triggers a delayed allergic reaction is different from what scientists have always expected. In regular allergic reactions, the body responds to the protein contained in the allergen. But with delayed anaphylaxis, the response seems to be triggered by the sugar, or alpha gals, that are contained in the meat. This finding sheds new light on the allergic reaction process and may help to shape future treatment options.
How to Avoid a Delayed Allergic Reaction: If you have type A or O blood and are worried about your risk for delayed anaphylaxis, just knowing it exists is an important first step. You should always try to avoid being bitten by a tick, regardless of your blood type. The best way to protect yourself is to wear long sleeves and pants when hiking or traveling in wooded areas. It’s also a good idea to use insect repellent as an extra precaution. After spending time outside, check yourself carefully for ticks and if you do find any and could be vulnerable to a delayed allergic reaction, be sure to call your doctor or healthcare provider for advice.
If in doubt, you may want to swear off red meat and stick to eating chicken and fish for a while. You should also ask your doctor or health care provider if it’s necessary to carry an EpiPen® in case of an emergency. If you do notice any unusual symptoms, always seek medical treatment immediately.
I hope this information was helpful to you! I was quite surprised when I read this information myself and felt I needed to share it with you! Everyday new discoveries are found and we need to to educate ourselves about allergies and any other health and environmental issues so we can “Save Our Planet Earth” and “Go Green” one step at time!